Historic Earthquakes

Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
1973 April 26 20:26:30.6 UTC
Magnitude 6.2

This damaging earthquake was felt from the east coast of Hawaii Island through the main islands of Kahoolawe, Kauai Lanai, Molokai, and Oahu, a distance of about 595 km. Property damage in and near Hilo was estimated at $5.75 million, and 11 people were injured.

Damage to buildings, roads, and utilities led authorities to declare a state of emergency. Ground effects, mainly landslides but including ground cracks induced by lateral displacement and local subsidence, were severe locally. Subsidence damaged the main wharf in Hilo, and landslides damaged roads and structures over a large area.

It was reported that 17 houses in the Hilo area were shaken from their foundations and that five collapsed. One structure in downtown Hilo collapsed, and the outside walls of an apartment building - a two-story concrete-block structure - were torn loose at two ends. Tombstones and chimneys overturned in several towns; water pipes and tanks were damaged. Several schools sustained damage, and four were closed temporarily. At Papaikou, the roof on the Kalaniaonaole School dropped 7-10 cm, and its ceiling was warped.

Abridged from Seismicity of the United States, 1568-1989 (Revised), by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1993.